Last week, the remaining networks screened portions of their fall TV lineups. Here, some initial thoughts on the offerings from CBS, Fox, and UPN.
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (UPN) The funniest sitcom previewed by any network. Think The Wonder Years set in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, with Chris Rock narrating the story of his bumpy, humiliation-filled childhood.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS) In 2030, a man tells his kids the story of their parents’ romance back in the aughts. The writing is clever (”I like a scotch that’s old enough to order its own scotch,” says Mom, circa 2005), and the witty supporting cast boasts Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan.
REUNION (FOX) A current-day murder among a group of thirtysomething friends had its seeds planted two decades ago. Each episode takes place over the course of a year, beginning back at high school graduation 1986. A great gimmick — if it plays out.
CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) Mandy Patinkin leads a team of profilers who hunt deviant killers. Love the Patink, but between this, Fox’s similar The Gate, and a half dozen other new procedurals, we’ve got ourselves a glut.
HEAD CASES (FOX) Chris O’Donnell is a wealthy lawyer who, after having a nervous breakdown, confoundingly joins legal forces with a scruffy attorney (Adam Goldberg) who suffers from a rage disorder. Week after week of Odd Couple yammering and people getting hit!
SEX, LIES & SECRETS (UPN) A soap that almost seems to be satirizing soaps, with Denise Richards muttering lines like ”Life’s a bitch, but so am I!” Looks only marginally lamer than UPN’s midseason contribution to the genre, the curiously flat, J. Lo-produced South Beach, which arrived sans pulse.